Until recently, global deaths from malaria had been dropping year over year. But that positive trend has come to a concerning end. In 2017, there were 3.5 million more cases of malaria than the year before.
This isn’t because we don’t know how to battle malaria effectively — we do. But we’re up against some big challenges, including complacency and wavering commitment. As a result, investments have plateaued and progress has stalled.
Luckily we have a powerful tool that’s fighting complacency and pushing for governments to #StepUpTheFight against malaria — The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The powerful organisation provides nearly 60% of all international financing for malaria and is actively working with partners to help communities around the world get back on track to eliminate this preventable disease.
Right now, the Global Fund and their partners are taking a multi-pronged approach to fighting back against malaria. Here’s how they’re doing it:
Partners of the Global Fund work with communities to teach them what malaria is, how it is transmitted, how it can be prevented, and how to treat malaria when someone is diagnosed with it. Providing communities with knowledge not only empowers them to prevent malaria, but teaches them when it’s necessary to seek out treatment.
Equipping communities with malaria control measures like mosquito nets to place over sleeping areas, indoor residual spraying (insecticide sprays), and preventive malaria medicines (antimalarials) means they’re able to protect themselves from being infected in the first place. In 2017 alone, six million pregnant women received preventive malaria treatment.
The Global Fund supports community health workers, who bring health care to areas where it previously didn’t exist. Mobile workers are equipped with rapid diagnostic kits to quickly and easily diagnose malaria and start administering lifesaving treatment. The workers may also be equipped with mosquito nets to distribute and are trained to provide community education sessions on malaria prevention and treatment.
Treating malaria is becoming increasingly more difficult as drug-resistant malaria becomes more prevalent. Nevertheless, the Global Fund has made huge strides in getting treatment to the people who need it. Global Fund-supported programs distribute lifesaving antimalarial drugs and have treated 108 million cases of malaria in 2017 alone!
The Global Fund
To make sure it can continue its critical work, the Global Fund will be hosting its Sixth Replenishment conference in October. They’re asking world leaders and private investors to come together and help save 16 million lives over the next 3 years by investing a minimum of US$14 billion.
This is the bold ambition the world needs to get us on track to stop the spread of diseases like malaria — and it’s why we’re calling on world leaders to #StepUpTheFight by fully financing the Global Fund.